We used the character exercise I spoke about in my blog two weeks ago to create memorable characters who came with their own story! This story can be the main story or a subplot, but either way, having the character’s need drive the story is a secret to writing something great.
During the class, students completed this exercise.
Here’s a recap of the exercise:
1. Your character is somewhere they must get out of right away, and they are allowed to take four things with them.
2. Name the character.
3. 5 “W’s”: Who, what, when, where, and why
4. Ask the 4 MQS: What is the character’s dream, nightmare, who or what would they “die” for, and do they attain or lose the dream, or find something new?
Here’s an example of how one of the students found an easy way to find a good story.
The character she created was a New York woman, named Andrea (not the real name she chose) a 30-something owner of a pet supplies company. The character was at home, and had to leave because there was a fire. The character took her cat, her notebook, her computer, and her wallet. I asked what was missing? Andrea was a business woman, right? She couldn’t think of it.
Can you guess?
I giggled, and said, “We have your story! Where did she leave the phone? If she’d had it, she would have taken it.” She started laughing. The exercise had generated both a relatable character and a perfect set up and structure for a one-woman show. The show will be about the character having to go back over the previous day to find it.
My student was amazed at the ease of working with a new character without knowing much about her, and how the seemingly random choice of objects, or in this case the omission of an object created a compelling premise.
Next week’s webinar will use a similar technique to help you create the villain or obstacle to your character. This character is what gives your story “legs.” Every Dorothy (your main character) needs a Miss Gulch/Wicked Witch of the West, to overcome. Please join me!
I want to shout out to my students Wendy Miller, Carolína Brettler, and Carly Triche who have completed a second draft of their scripts. BRAVA!!!!!